September 17, 2014

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We are optimistic regarding the outcome of the ratification process of the tentative agreement with the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF). The agreement requires ratification not only by teachers but also by Boards of Education across the province.Teachers will vote on Thursday,and Boards have been asked to complete their ratification by this Friday. It is possible that we may know the outcome of the ratification by teachers on Thursday and that teachers and staff may return to work on Friday. This will provide opportunity to ensure that Monday’s opening is smooth and positive for all involved.

Opening Day

If there is a ratified agreement, the first day of school for grade one to grade twelve students will be Monday, September 22. We have well-established routines and we would follow our normal opening day routines with a shortened first day. Buses will run accordingly. This first day of school with students is important as it allows us to greet students, set preliminary classes and schedules, and finalize staffing levels at each of our sites. Following this first day,regular school hours will be in effect.

Gradual Entry for Kindergarten

For our youngest learners, some of whom are still 4 years old, gradual entry includes a phasing in of small groups and shortened attendance times. This gentle introduction to kindergarten builds a foundation for success in school. The gradual start allows children to adjust to a new school environment and allows time for the family to meet with teachers to develop relationships. A gradual entry for these young students is important. Kindergarten parents will receive this information directly.

Non-Instructional Days

As part of our District Calendar, many of our schools had Friday, September 26 or Friday,October 3 set as a School-Based Non-Instructional Day. These are important days for staff development. Our top priority is to get students in school and we will, therefore, be rescheduling this school-based professional development day for a later date in Jan/ Feb 2014.

Provincial Exams/Instructional Time

Information we have received to date from the Ministry of Education is that we are able to adjust Semester 1 with Provincial Exams being offered in the first week in February. We do not have those dates yet. At this time, with current information, it is unlikely that we will see any adjustment to the length of the school day or adjustments to the Christmas break or spring break.

We look forward to welcoming the return of our students, teachers, staff and parents to our schools. We sincerely appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we move toward the opening of schools for the 2014.

Evelyn Novak

Superintendent of Schools